What is the change? Canada and the European Union have signed a free trade agreement.

What does the change mean? Specific implications are still unclear. It could result in freer movement of people, including simplified work permits for some professions and a broader definition of “business visitor.”

  • Implementation timeframe: To be announced.
  • Visas/permits affected: To be announced.
  • Who is affected: To be announced.
  • Impact on processing times: This should speed processing times.
  • Business impact: This should benefit business travel and the assignment of workers between Canada and the European Union.
  • Next steps: Await further updates from BAL.

Background: Today, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso signed a free trade agreement. Although no details are available, it is anticipated that the agreement will contain provisions for the free movement of people. Free movement is likely to benefit work permit holders in specific occupations and provide a broader definition of activities allowed under business travel.

BAL analysis: This agreement is likely to provide significant benefits to clients operating in Canada and the EU. BAL anticipates freer business travel and a simplified work assignment process between the two governments.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact

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